Hello everyone, I'm new to this and would appreciate any advice for my difficult situation.
I only married less than a year ago, after being together many years.
We relocated to New Zealand recently and I have begun to see some very serious controlling issues (financially and emotionally) from him.
I'm giving it time to come to terms with leaving him and am in therapy to understand my difficult situation. I have been told by family, friends and the therapist to get out now, and return home.
We jointly own a home together in the UK which is currently being let by tenants through an agent. The mortgage is in both of our names.
He is very irresponsible with money, and can't be reasoned with in a mature way at all. He is currently unaware I want to leave, but if he finds out, he may force me to remain here.
I feel he may stay in NZ, which would make divorce proceeding difficult (if I was home) and drain the joint account and make us miss payments on the mortgage, (I could lose the house?) or he will return and kick tenants out and stubbornly live in the house making my life a living hell. The adult way would be to sell the home, but I fear this may not happen.
If he doesn't want to divorce and you got married a year ago and you have decided that you do want to divorce it's a lot for anyone to take in so their behavior will likely be unpredictable.
Your tenants cannot be kicked out before the end of your tenancy and given you both own the property and are married you both have equal right to stay in the property at the end of the tenants tenancy. Given the above you cannot sell the property without his consent which if he doesn't give it then you will need to go to court and proceed through the normal Ancillary Relief process which will likely take a minimum of 18 months if fully contested. At the end of that process the judge will decide if the house should be sold and when it is sold who gets what.
I got divorced outside of the UK as we were living elsewhere and one of reasons we could do that was because we were resident in that country for more than a year. I don't know what the divorce process is like in New Zealand but you may like to see if it is easier / cheaper than the UK which is pretty much world renowned for how difficult, lengthy and expensive they make it.
I understand this will get messy, but I'm left with little choice but to leave him as this could quickly turn abusive.
The tenancy agreement for our UK home is only 6 months - rolling thereafter.
This poses a risk that he will return to the UK, move back in and either get the mortgage in debt or have a lodger.
I'd rather live with family than share a home with him, but am worried; could he claim the house if he occupied it himself?
The other concern is what would happen if he remained in New Zealand (he has a two year work visa, which can extend into residency) and refused to ever grant me a divorce? (Whilst playing games with our property/finances)
You have a good point about divorcing in NZ, but I fear I honestly cannot remain abroad with him and go through divorce proceedings here, I need the safety and support of my family back in the UK.
I'd like to know worst case scenarios so I can mentally prepare - your thoughts would be so helpful.
He can't \"claim the house\" but he can live in it just as you can. If you choose not to that is your choice but you won't lose the property this way but he may live there for the duration of the legal proceedings.
As I said I did the actual divorce not in the UK so I'm only familiar with it from reading about cases and I believe it is 2 years with consent and 5 years without.
I suspect you could get some legal order to the effect that if there was a problem with the mortgage being paid you could ask the rental company to pay the rent from the tenants directly to the mortgage company or the rent to be paid directly to yourself instead of into the joint account for you to pay it. With this is place if he was to return and want to live in your house and end the tenancy he would maybe have to explain how he was going to service the mortgage given presumably he would be unemployed for some time if he left his job in New Zealand.
Many lawyers have a free half an hour they would offer to you and maybe they would do that over the phone or skype with you and you could talk over options.
Ok, this is really good to hear, apart from the 5 years without consent, oh wow...
(We have no children) So the house is my main concern -we purchased it cheap years ago and improved it, so it is going to be worth more and if I can protect it from being repossessed from non mortgage repayments then I have a chance.
Yes, good point about getting some legal advice whilst I'm here - I have felt a bit stuck with the thought I'd need to return home in order to do so. I'll get on the case.
In terms of the financial aspect of divorce they add on the time before marriage so you will read things about short marriages but if you have lived together for four years plus before then you will for this aspect be considered to have a medium length relationship.
I had thought that given the year length of the marriage you maybe able to get it annulled and this may still be worth asking the question but the reasons listed below don't include that but do include if you were very drunk when you got married so maybe you could try your luck there.